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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 118830
Last updated: 21 July 2020
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Date:22-MAY-1943
Time:04:20
Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb
Owner/operator:107th OSqn /67th OGp USAAF
Registration: EN864
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:1/2 mile NE of Great Shefford, Berkshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Membury Airfield, Hungerford, Berkshire
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Spitfire Vb EN864 "AX-D" of 107th Observation Squadron, 67th Observation Group, US 8th Air Force, USAAF, crashed May 22 1943, 1/2 mile North East of Great Shefford, Bedfordshire. The pilot bailed out. According to published reports:

"The weather on the afternoon of 22nd May 1943 was fairly typical for late spring with overcast skies and scattered showers. Captain Hal Conner had taken off from Membury in his Spitfire at approximately 15:40 hours on a local training mission. He had been up for about 30 minutes and was climbing through cloud. Just as he emerged from the cloud at about 2,700 feet, the engine cut out instantaneously although the propeller continued to windmill. Captain Conner tried several times to restart the engine which was by now emitting black smoke. The plane started to lose altitude and as the engine was still refusing to respond the pilot decided to bail out and landed safely in a field about one mile north-west of Great Shefford. The aircraft dived in to the ground about half-a-mile north-east of the same village and was completely destroyed.

The following is an account of the crash given to the authorities at the time by an R. Langford, then living at 6 Council Houses, Wantage Road, Great Shefford: "I was at Great Shefford at the time of the accident, about 4.15 p.m., 22nd May 1943. The ceiling at this time was about 1,500 feet. I could not see the plane for it was either in or above cloud. I heard the engine splutter about twice and then cut out completely. A few seconds later it came diving through the cloud at about a 45 degree angle and crashed in a field a little north of Great Shefford. Approximately four minutes later the pilot appeared descending by parachute through the cloud."

On 06/09/2003, the crash site was excavated, but only small pieces of wreckage were found:

"Finds were relatively sparse apart from a boost instrument face & a section of canopy frame, until an engine Generator with an Air Ministry Plate was found at a depth of about 5 ft. Several pieces of engine bearer were also recovered. Then we found a rusty piece of steel cable tied in a loop, on close inspection the cable appeared to be broken, which fitted in with the local rumour. This steel cable was most likely thrown in the crater by the 1943 recovery team. Our hopes for finding a complete engine began to fade, it was clear to the team that a lot of the wreckage had been cleared away in 1943. Finally at a depth of 10ft the prop boss was found in a 45 degree angle embeded in the chalk. With no further deep readings this concluded the dig for EN864. The team was slightly disapointed but never the less some interesting finds were discovered from this rare US Army Air Force Spitfire"

Sources:

1. http://www.ramsburyatwar.com/crashes/spitfireshefford.htm
2. http://www.wingsmuseum.co.uk/spitfire_vb_EN864_recovery.htm
3. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/spitfire/p037.html


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
16-Jan-2017 17:52 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
16-Jan-2017 17:53 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
30-May-2017 18:20 Anon. Updated [Location]
20-Feb-2019 17:32 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
23-Mar-2020 18:12 DG333 Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Operator]

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